Facebook today is formally announcing new APIs to enable applications developers to access and publish information in users’ home page streams.
The new Facebook “Open Stream” API includes two new methods: stream.get and stream.publish. With these new methods, developers can “access the stream on behalf of a user and then filter, remix, and display the stream back to that user however you choose, wherever you choose, in the manner most relevant for the user experience. Other new API methods will allow users to both publish into the stream and to add comments and ‘likes’ to posts in the stream,” Facebook says in a blog post this morning. Details are available in the developer wiki.
Now, Facebook users will now be able to use applications to read and interact with their stream in any application they’ve authorized. Early applications have already been under development using the new functionality, including Seesmic and TweetDeck, which we profiled last month. The entire stream will be available for developers to remix and create new experiences, and we expect to see developers create many more applications that optimize the real-time Facebook experience for different use cases.
However, unlike speculation that made its way around this weekend after an article was published in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is not opening access to all content shared by users to application developers. Rather, these new features are complementary to new APIs Facebook released in February which enabled app developers to access users’ status, links, notes, and videos.
Today’s announcement fits the trajectory of Facebook’s overall strategy in recent months of prioritizing real-time updates, but it isn’t a radical departure from Facebook’s privacy-oriented Platform APIs. Unlike Twitter, where shared information is be default public, on Facebook, shared information is by default private. This means that many applications which the marketing community is clamoring for – like the ability to search and access all updates shared by Facebook users – is not part of this release.
Rather, Facebook is encouraging the developer community to think about new ways of integrating the home page stream experience into their applications. Now that Facebook app developers have easier access to more data, Facebook hopes new real-time apps will dramatically increase content sharing across the Facebook Platform.